Julia Segal is a counsellor for people with physical illnesses and disabilities in London, UK

Phantasy in Everyday Life.

Phantasy in Everyday Life – A Psychoanalytic Approach to Understanding Ourselves.

This was my first book, written between 1979 and 1983.  It is an introduction to psychoanalytical ideas for non-specialists.  Melanie Klein’s ideas were at the time considered difficult by many people, but I had come across them at an early age and to me they seemed straightforward and utterly illuminating.  Teaching the ideas of Freud and Klein at the University of Manchester Extra-Mural Department, I felt the need of a book which could be read by the kind of people who came to my classes, busy professionals who were not analysts themselves and did not have a lot of time to read ‘difficult’ books.  Many of my formulations were honed during discussion over drinks after the seminar, with enthusiastic and interested students of all ages. I was a bit disappointed that it was published as a Penguin Psychology book, rather than in a more popular format, but I think I over-estimated my ability to write like a journalist.  It is an easy read for many people,  but it does use some long words.

At the time psychoanalysis was very unfashionable and I called the first seminar ‘Psychoanalysis is not wrong’.  One of my class members met his Professor, a CBT psychologist, who, on being told his student was attending a seminar in psychoanalysis, sighed – not entirely joking –  ‘Where did I go wrong?’ .  I was training as a Marriage Guidance Counsellor at the time, and being a mother of small children, and these strands fed into the book.

Two psychoanalysts, Hanna Segal and Elizabeth Spillius, both read it for me and approved it.  It is recommended by some psychoanalysts for a general introduction to psychoanalytical ideas, particularly those of Melanie Klein and her collaborators.


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